From Proscenium to the Public: Alternative Spaces in Performance

by Ashwini Raghupathy

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Photo Courtesy: Ddebiprasad Sahoo

In April earlier this year, a video was uploaded on Youtube which created a furor that launched a barrage of discussions on social media which continue even today. The clip showed a dancer Aleksy Furdak, also known as Gaura Natraj Das, an American performing Bharatanatyam in a metro station in the USA. (http://www.southreport.com/classical-dance-in-new-york-subway/) ) This performance was not the first of its kind, as other dancers, including myself, have been exploring public spaces to present traditional Indian dances. Here you see another Bharatanatyam dancer, Jai Khalsa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUBWtuxyiUQ, and here is a video featuring me which encapsulated a little of my work in this area : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GCXHbycgd4)

While I personally have not spoken to the above-mentioned dancers, I have realised from my own experience that there will be detractors every time one challenges the status quo in any field. When I started to dance Odissi in the parks and streets of Bangalore. I received a fair share of criticism, some of which I have outlined here:

[Read more…]

Dancing to Nowhere: Young, Beautiful, and Broke?

by Ranjana Dave
[Originally Published in The Asian Age (http://archive.asianage.com) – May 2011]

dancer-full-flute

Photo Courtesy: Debiprasad Sahoo

Some young classical dancers might be forgiven for thinking that an arangetram or debut marks the end of their dance careers. An arangetram only heralds the start of a long, and sometimes, futile struggle to be known.

People often talk of dance as spiritual, and argue that dancers must treat their art as “sacred” and not trivialize it by bringing money into the equation. If, one sunny morning, they are told that they must work without expecting returns, for the spiritual good of society, can they be expected to respond with similar equanimity? [Read more…]

From Performer to Performeur….Creativity with Prosperity

by Srijat Mishra

Photo Courtesy: Global Rasika

Photo Courtesy: Global Rasika

 

A classical dancer, or for that matter any classical performing artist’s life, is generally is fraught with economic uncertainties. This will remain until the public at large doesn’t pay to watch classical performances. In our fast-food world of instant gratification, spiritually uplifting classical performances are far behind the pecking order. This trend is inevitable; despite the classical performer lending strength to a critical dimension of the society – i.e. aesthetics – India, in large sections, remains in survival mode or hygiene living. Food, housing, education and health continue to monopolize the household budget. Entertainment also has its small share of the wallet, but it is largely limited to Bollywood, Cricket (or other sports) & reality shows, with TV serving as the primary medium. [Read more…]